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Top May Day Celebrations In Philadelphia

May Day isn't just a single day in Philly; it's a month-long celebration of spring. Throughout the city and suburbs, there are numerous festivals and activities that have become so popular that they return each year, as do those who celebrate them. The city is lively with food, music, wine, art and most importantly, fun. Many of these festivals are free or low-cost, so shake off the blandness of winter and get outside!

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May Day Festival of the Arts
Everhart Park
599 W. Union St.
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 738-3350

Date: May 5, 2013

Out in the Philadelphia "countryside" in the town of West Chester is an annual fun-filled, family festival. This free spring festival will help kick off your May Day celebrations and is complete with children's activities and a moon bounce. The festival also has arts and crafts, music and food booths.

The Broad Street Run
Broad St. and W. Fisher Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19141
(215) 683-3594

Date: May 5, 2013

The famous Broad Street Run is the unofficial kickoff of May celebrations in Philly. The race follows a 10-mile course throughout the city along Broad Street and goes through many neighborhoods and around City Hall. Runners sign up for a lottery in February and pay $40 if selected. Spectators come out to support the runners and there are various entertainment and cheerleaders spread throughout the race. Refreshments are also available. Kids' activities will be held at the Philadelphia Naval Yard and consist of face painting, a moon bounce, petting zoo, rides and more. The cost is $5 per child with children under two admitted for free.

Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival
Broad St. and 19th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Date: May 18, 2013

This annual festival attracts a large crowd of over 50,000 with live music, art, fashion and food. The edible offerings are similar to those at a food and wine festival in that vendors offer sample-size portions -- so you can try many dishes for just small fees. This is a family-friendly festival with plenty of activities for children that is held rain or shine.

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9th Street Italian Market Festival
Along 9th St. between Fitzwater St. and Federal St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 278-2903

Dates: May 18-19, 2013

The city's largest open-air market turns into an Italian street festival of food and fun for the whole family (whether rain or shine). South Philly's many restaurants will extend their seating to the outdoors. Enjoy all of the different variations of cuisine provided by vendors to keep you satiated throughout the festival. This festival isn't just about food; there will also be staged entertainment. The market has a Visitor's Center located at 919 South 9th Street that includes a gift shop for Italian treasures as well.

Brandywine River Blues Festival
Chaddsford Winery
632 Baltimore Pike
Chaddsford, PA 19317
(610) 388-6221

Dates: May 25-26, 2013

Chaddsford Winery has been in business of over 20 years and is the largest winery in Pennsylvania. The festival will feature barrel aging and wine making demonstrations. Bring your picnic and relax in the sun for two live blues bands each day of the festival. This is one for true wine lovers, with the focus on the winery (though the music is a nice addition!).

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May Day Fairie Festival
Spoutwood Farm
4255 Pierceville Rd
Glen Rock, Pa. 17327

Dates: May 3, Noon – 6 p.m.; May 4 and 4, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

This weekend-long festival at Spoutwood Farm celebrates one of the pagan aspects of May Day: fairies! Grab the kids and enjoy more than 70 arts and crafts vendors, performances by musicians and dancers, storytellers, maypole dancing, fairie crafts such as wand and garland making (involves a small fee), food, fairie, fairie and gnome habitat tours, fairie tea parties and guest appearances from the Green Man, the Mossmen, Sweet Pea and others.

National Public Gardens Day
30 Local Gardens

Date: May 10

Celebrate our city's status as "America's Garden Capital" with National Garden Day celebrations at numerous area green spaces. Participants include Longwood, Bartram's Garden, Chanticleer and more, and all guests will receive packets of seeds, gratis, upon entrance to any of the gardens.

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here
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